The presentation of a petition by Pacific Wild with over half a million signatures calling for stronger restrictions on B.C. wolf hunting coincided with the start of the fall session on Monday – ahead of the group’s extended B.C. Supreme Court battle, which is expected to be back in court later this month.
The petition, with 505,448 signatures as of Oct. 4, asks the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to reverse a controversial wolf hunt that was put in place in 2015 and was later extended to 2021. The ministry is seeking approval to extend the order another five years to 2026.
Since 2015, the group said 1,427 wolves have been killed in the province, among them Takaya, a male sea wolf from Discovery Islands whose death in 2020 caused public outcry.
Presented at the B.C. legislature building to a ministry staff member, a driftwood sculpture depicting the wolf’s lost mate held the pelt of a seal killed by Takaya, inside of which was a USB drive containing the petition.
The protection of endangered B.C. caribou is the most common defence for killing wolves, said Karen McAllister, interim executive director of Pacific Wild. “But I do not believe that killing one species to save another is the answer – especially a species that is so integral to our ecosystem.”
Earlier studies in favour of caribou penning and predator culling (wolves foremost) were proved inaccurate without due process by a 2020 study from researchers at the universities of British Columbia, Victoria and Alberta, which the wildlife advocacy organization referenced. Strategies for managing endangered wildlife should instead focus on encroaching human activity, the study said.
Pacific Wild’s B.C. Supreme Court case against the province’s wolf hunting practices had two days in court in July and is scheduled for three more from Oct. 27 to the 29.
There are two arguments against the lawfulness of the practice said Rebeka Breder, animal law lawyer and Pacific Wild legal counsel – the cruelty in killing entire wolfpacks and the use of firearms from aircraft. “We have federal laws in Canada that prohibit the use of firearms from aircraft. There are some exceptions, but (wolf hunting) is not one of those exceptions,” she said.
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